Microsoft wants to further increase its involvement in the automotive industry, vastly increasing its role with automakers.
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Automakers may talk a big game about preventing distracted driving and improving safety, but at the same time they continue to provide distracting infotainment systems.
A new platform for in-car entertainment is ready to hit the market, based on the latest software from Research in Motion (RIM) subsidiary, QNX.
With how advanced technology has come in just the last few years, consumers are paying more attention to safety features than what a vehicle’s infotainment system has to offer.
Tech giant Intel has decided to move into the car infotainment market, teaming up with Denso, which recently developed the Entune system in various new Toyota models.
Intel, known for its microprocessors used in most of today’s computers, has created a $100 million investment fund towards the development of new hardware and software for the automotive infotainment market. Initially, the tech giant will focus on developing speech recognition, gesture recognition, and eye tracking.
Along with Entune, Denso has also developed NaviBridge and Arpeggio, infotainment technologies that work alongside today’s smartphones.
A match made in heaven? Perhaps. Both Intel and Denso are well-respected in the tech industry, but other competitors are more established and already have relationships with automakers. Still, we doubt the two heavyweights will have difficulty building those relationships.
The decision to develop this tech is one of the first projects funded by the investment fund, which was announced last month. The fund exists to promote technological innovation in the automotive industry because of the rapidly-growing role computers are playing in new cars.
[Source: Automotive News]
Backup cameras used to be a premium feature, but that will change thanks to a federal mandate expected Feb. 29.
If it goes through, the little screens that keep drivers from backing into objects will be required on all new US vehicles. The move is meant to cut down on the current death and injury statistics for backup accidents which account for 292 deaths and 3,000 serious injuries per year, according to federal statistics.
Aside from mandating the camera’s general implementation, it seems that such technology is likely be be standardized to require a 10-foot wide by 20-foot deep field of vision.
While back-up cams like the one in the Kia Sorento (above) and the annoying sonar-like beeping feature to prevent you from swapping paint with your neighbor are probably less than exciting for most drivers, there is a silver lining to the new rule.
If automakers are forced to start sticking screens into every dashboard, it’s likely that more new cars will have an infotainment system. Such technology is already finding its way into a growing list of cars, but its easy to imagine the champagne might already be flowing for companies who supply manufacturers with this equipment, after all what’s better than having an extremely inelastic good for sale?
Product manufacturers are probably giggling with glee, but consumers are probably feeling a little burned by an extra cost being forced into their next new car purchase. How much will this new requirement cost you?
That will ultimately depend on the manufacturer, but we’re betting it’s not going to be a big deal, at least as far as the budget compact segment is concerned.
Luxury automakers always find ways to charge more for their features and to be fair you often get a better product. It’s fair to assume, however, that individual unit costs will shrink as unit production goes up. Right now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that it costs about $200 to install a video system and back up camera into a car.
It’s the same as buying breakfast cereal at Costco: things are cheaper in greater volume. Beyond that, it’s up to the manufacturer to decide how much of the additional cost it will bear and what portion to pass on.
With the advent of advanced in-car technology comes the downfalls of hackers looking to do malicious things. Some experts are already expressing concern that the use of advanced infotainment systems by automakers worldwide could leave new-generation vehicles open to hacking.
Recently a pair of scientists from the University of San Diego and the University of Washington were successful in hacking into a vehicle’s safety system through its infotainment setup, revealing a clear vulnerability with the technology. And even though infotainment such as the vehicle’s navigation and Bluetooth are built to be separate from a vehicle’s safety system, this doesn’t mean that they’re invulnerable to hacking.
The concerns aren’t that hackers can take full control of a vehicle, but could unlock or even start a car; but worse, brakes and throttles are now being controlled by computers so it could be possible that those systems can be compromised as well.
As we all know with all the rampant hacking that has been going on recently, building security into any new-generation technology is difficult. Hackers will always find a way; and unless vehicle manufacturers are willing to update their software and firmware on a regular basis, there’s a strong potential that coming up with a single standard for cyber security will not be easy.
Worst of all, NHTSA isn’t equipped to test today’s advanced vehicle electronic systems.
[Source: Detroit News]
Cadillac is getting ready to reveal a new infotainment system, and while details are tightly under wraps, the system is expected to be introduced in its 2013 models. Some sources have claimed that the luxury brands infotainment system is far more advanced then what BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Audi has to offer.
With Ford having difficulties with its MyFordTouch (available on its Lincoln products), it’s likely that Cadillac may offer a simplified system that uses more intuitive physical controls rather than a touch screen system. Hyundai has opted for this setup on their Equus luxury sedan, and it has won praise from critics and consumers alike.
[Source: CarTech Blog]